Enormous crowds of young pilgrims have packed the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day in Lisbon, with some 1.5 million attending the final Mass said by Pope Francis at the gathering today.
Pope Francis challenged young pilgrims to ask themselves, “What will we take back with us to the valley of our daily lives?” Drawing on the day’s Gospel, the Holy Father proposed three verbs: to shine, to listen, and to be unafraid.
Vatican News reported:
The Gospel reading recounts the event of the Transfiguration, where Jesus appeared to His three closest disciples with His face shining like the sun and His clothes gleaming white, precisely in order to prepare his disciples for the dark hours they would face at Gethsemane and Calvary.
“We, too, need light, a burst of light that is hope to face so much darkness that assails us in life,” the Pope said. That light, he explained, “is Jesus, because He is the light that does not go out, the light that shines even in the night.” It is Jesus, he said, “that enlightens our eyes, enlightens our heart, enlightens our mind, enlightens our desire to do something in life, always with the light of the Lord.”
At the same time, he warned that “we do not become luminous when we focus the spotlight on ourselves.” Instead, “We become luminous, we shine, when, welcoming Jesus, we learn to love like Him. To love like Jesus: that makes us luminous, that leads us to do works of love.”
Writing from Lisbon, editor of the Irish Catholic, Michael Kelly, said that: “what will I take away from #WorldYouthDay – the number of young Irish people I have met here raised as functional atheists who have embraced Catholicism. Some of them to the bewilderment of their parents. The future is bright”
What will I take away from #WorldYouthDay – the number of young Irish people I have met here raised as functional atheists who have embraced Catholicism. Some of them to the bewilderment of their parents. The future is bright. pic.twitter.com/nKfd2oRS00
— Michael Kelly ن (@MichaelKellyIC) August 6, 2023
— Michael Kelly ن (@MichaelKellyIC) August 5, 2023
Authorities say 800,000 young Catholics participated in the #WorldYouthDay Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis tonight, that’s 300,000 more than the opening ceremony as #Lisboa2023 looks set to cross the one million participants mark tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/JU0H8YBTOV
— Michael Kelly ن (@MichaelKellyIC) August 4, 2023
Stories from the pilgrimage packed social media feeds in the past week.
Met Francis and Jerome this morning. Both are Portuguese boys who have Down Syndrome. Today they will be servers for a Papal Mass. They only met here and have become fast friends. Their parents allowed me post their picture for you. Maybe the best part of the pilgrimage. pic.twitter.com/DP3lWIcQB6
— Fr. Paul Hartmann (@frphartmann) August 6, 2023
"How beautiful you are! You who announce the good news, you are a sign of hope,” French soccer star Olivier Giroud has told pilgrims heading to World Youth Day pic.twitter.com/HKwjiP5zKy
— Ruadhan Jones (@RuadhanJ) August 2, 2023
— Brenda Drumm – Tobin (@BrendaDrumm) August 6, 2023
📹HIGHLIGHTS | An estimated 1.5 million people gathered in Tejo Park for the prayer vigil with Pope Francis at #wyd #lisbon2023. This is the largest Catholic gathering since the end of the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/49YMzjYjwu
— EWTN News (@EWTNews) August 6, 2023